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College of Western Idaho: A True Community College

College of Western Idaho's graduates strengthen treasure valley.

By Livability on January 18, 2023

Gordon Jones, president of College of Western Idaho, leads a campus vision that includes breaking ground on new buildings, providing state-of-the-art equipment and wrap-around student services to help students succeed and give back to the Nampa community.
College of Western Idaho

When it first opened its doors in 2009, the College of Western Idaho welcomed an initial class of 1,200 students. Today, that number has soared to serving over 30,000 – and counting. It’s no surprise CWI has grown so much in such a short time due to its affordable tuition, flexible access to classes and close partnerships with local businesses, all of which attract a wide array of students seeking higher education. 

“We are committed to keeping CWI affordable to ensure anyone can access a high-quality college education that leads to life-changing outcomes,” says Gordon Jones, president of CWI. “We haven’t raised tuition in seven years – adjusting for inflation, we’re less expensive today than we were when we opened.” 

Besides affordability, another benefit of attending CWI is the flexibility with which students can access and complete their courses. Students can take classes in person, online or a hybrid of the two. 

“We try to meet students where they’re at,” Jones says. “We have courses that run in the evenings and on weekends to fit the schedules of people who may be working full-time or don’t have traditional hours.” 

College of Western Idaho's Boise Center
College of Western Idaho

Employer Partnerships 

CWI knows that higher education is a stepping stone on the path to pursuing a career, which is why it places such a heavy emphasis on integrating education and hands-on job experience. 

“Our Work-Based Learning Center offers a connection between students and employers by providing opportunities to combine instruction with practical work experience,” says Christi Gilchrist, assistant vice president of economic development. “This allows students to confidently choose the correct academic pathway to support their goals.” 

The caliber of CWI graduates continues to impress local businesses, leading to the expansion of opportunities for students. CWI works in conjunction with local businesses and organizations to create apprenticeship programs for a more seamless integration into the workforce after graduation. The college is also one of Amazon’s official Career Choice partners. 

 In a recent exciting announcement, CWI was named the core education partner for Micron and its newly announced $15 billion factory to be built in Boise. 

“Our Work-Based Learning Center offers a connection between students and employers by providing opportunities to combine instruction with practical work experience.”  

– Christi Gilchrist, Assistant Vice President of Economic Development

With the demand of an educated and skilled workforce increasing, the college is actively investing in expanding its physical campuses in Nampa and Boise. This includes transitioning from leased spaces across multiple sites to a more centralized campus, as well as breaking ground on new buildings and facilities and outfitting them with state-of-the-art equipment. 

These investments reflect CWI’s commitment to provide the most relevant, high-quality education at the greatest value possible, supporting Nampa’s community with an educated workforce. 

 “We take that responsibility seriously because good jobs and careers ultimately make our community healthier,” Jones concludes. “It’s why we’re called a community college.” 

This story first appeared in the latest edition of Livability: Nampa, Idaho.

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